463 A Sasol garage around the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. 251009. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - South African petrochemicals group Sasol is likely to report a rise in first-half profit of up to 28 percent, helped partly by a weaker rand currency and slightly higher chemical prices, it said on Friday.

Shares in the company extended gains shortly after the announcement, rising 1.11 percent to 543.97 rand by 04:36 SA time.

Sasol said headline earnings per share increased by between 22 and 28 percent in the six months to end-December.

Headline EPS is the primary measure of profit in South Africa and strips out one-off items.

“The benefit of a 19 percent weakening of the average rand/US dollar exchange rate and a slight improvement in chemical prices further supported Sasol's financial performance,” the company said in a statement. - Reuters